Researching the best online proctoring services and software?
Finding the best online proctoring company is difficult because each offers different platforms, features, and services. We’re here to help.
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- AI + humans = better proctoring
- Detects cell phones
- Blocks ChatGPT
- Flat-rate price protects your bottom line
- Easy to use ≠ less functionality
- Automatically searches for leaked test questions
- 24/7 proctored exams + live support
- Customizable proctoring settings + accommodations
- Works for traditional and alternative assessments
- Integrates directly with the LMS
- Uses voice detection, not sound detection
- Reports with timestamped recordings are available in the LMS
- Technology + company practices = security
Here are the online proctoring platforms and services we’ll refer to:
Browser lockdown: entry-level exam monitoring software prevents use of other browsers and applications.
Live human proctoring: a proctor simultaneously monitors multiple test-takers in real-time.
Automated proctoring (AI proctoring): only uses AI software to monitor behavior.
Automated (AI) + live proctoring: AI software monitors behavior and alerts a human proctor if it detects potential academic dishonesty
13 things to look for in the best online proctoring services and software
1. Combines AI and humans to improve accuracy and the user experience
When you create a document in Microsoft Word, do you accept every grammar suggestion without reviewing it first? Hopefully not.
And after you proofread and make some suggested changes, you may use assistive writing software, like Grammarly, to double-check your work.
Why do we do this?
Because even though AI is powerful, it isn’t perfect, and humans make mistakes. We use AI in many ways but still review it because there are nuances that need human oversight. This everyday example highlights the value of AI and humans working together.
It’s the same situation for online exam proctoring. AI exam monitoring software and human proctors are independently good at certain things, but they’re more effective when combined.
Consider this scenario: You’re a remote proctor responsible for monitoring a dozen test-takers at once. It’d be easy to miss things, right?
But what if the AI monitors test takers’ behavior and alerts a proctor if it detects any problems? And then they can review the situation one-to-one instead of one-to-a dozen before intervening?
The best online proctoring service does that. This approach creates a better testing environment with fewer distractions and improves proctoring accuracy.
2. Detects cell phones and other devices
Most people have cellphones or other devices, which is why you need to find online proctoring that can detect when they’re being used to look up answers.
In addition to detecting cell phones, the online proctoring software should detect device sharing apps like Apple Handoff.
3. Blocks ChatGPT and other AI tools
If you’re looking to stop AI tools like ChatGPT and Transcript browser extension, you’ll need a lot more than browser lockdown software and a plagiarism checker.
A browser lock is a good start, but what if a test taker has a cell phone? And plagiarism checkers are ineffective at detecting AI generated content.
To stop ChatGPT and other AI, you need a comprehensive proctoring solution with a variety of tools such as: cell phone detection, video monitoring, voice detection (not sound detection), and a blend of AI with live proctoring.
4. Flat-rate pricing helps avoid variable costs
Variable costs can add up quickly depending on the proctoring company’s pricing model.
Consider this scenario: You’re using an online proctoring company that charges per hour.
You budgeted for 500 hours of exam proctoring, but the exams take longer than expected, and you’re billed for 650 hours.
How much extra would that cost you? Whether it’s $10 or $10,000, it’s too much.
To help protect your bottom line and estimate testing costs, find an online proctoring company with a flat rate cost per exam or test-taker.
5. The online proctoring software is easy to use and does everything you need
If you invest in online proctoring software, make sure it gets used.
Clunky proctoring software can create a bad user experience that ultimately decreases adoption and requires more time for training.
Ease of use doesn’t mean less functionality. The best test proctoring software makes it easy to use advanced, customizable proctoring features in just a few clicks – even for the least tech-savvy people.
6. Automatically identifies leaked test questions
Unfortunately, it’s common to find leaked test questions on the internet. It’s a frustrating aspect of online learning that puts your tests and reputation at risk.
“If all of our quizzes are out there on the internet where anyone can look up the answers, what kind of quality is that degree?”– Cody Moyer, Director of Learning Technology, Polk State College
Read about Cody’s experience with proctoring
But you have a few options to search for your leaked test content:
Option 1: Individually entering your test questions into an internet search tool and reviewing all of the results.
Option 2: Manually selecting each test question to be searched for by the proctoring software and sending individual takedown requests if any are found.
Option 3: Enabling the online proctoring platform to automatically search the internet for all of your test questions and sending takedown requests with a single click.
Which option sounds best? Option 3 because it’s efficient and effective.
That’s the difference between using the best proctoring software to find leaked test content versus software that checks the box.
7. Proctored exams and support are available 24/7/365
People have busy lives and need the flexibility to take exams and get live support 24/7/365.
“Having access to customer support 24/7/365 is huge. Especially when students may be taking exams at any time of day. You want them to have access to someone who can troubleshoot with them.” – Daphnee St. Val, Senior Instructional Designer, Broward College
Read about Daphnee’s experience with proctoring
Support questions to ask online proctoring companies:
- Is support available in different ways? e.g., chat, email, phone?
- In what country or countries are the support agents located?
- Is support an additional cost or included in the flat rate price?
8. Proctoring settings are customizable
With some remote proctoring platforms, you’re stuck with out-of-the-box settings, whether you want to use them or not.
The inability to disable specific features of the proctored exam platform limits customization and can negatively impact the exam experience. The best proctoring platforms allow test admins to pick and choose which features to enable or disable in a few clicks.
“Instructors like how they can set different parameters in the exams. It’s a better experience for the students because instructors can be very specific.” – Paula Rodriguez, Former Director of the University Testing Center, Colorado State University.
Read about Paula’s experience with proctoring
The best proctoring services also allow admins to give instructions that provide accommodations, such as bathroom breaks, extended exam times, alternative assessment activities, and assistive devices.
9. Proctors traditional questions and alternative assessment activities
Most remote proctoring companies offer at least one way to protect traditional test questions, like multiple-choice and true-or-false. But what about proctoring alternative assessment activities, sometimes called authentic assessments, like live virtual presentations or preparing balance sheets in Excel?
Browser lockdown software isn’t nearly enough. AI-only won’t cut it, and live proctoring-only could be a scheduling disaster and lead to variable costs.
The most effective way to protect alternative assessments is to combine customizable remote proctoring software with live human review.
Test admins should be able to choose which proctoring features to use and provide the live proctor with detailed instructions and test rules for further customization that cover the many nuances of alternative assessments.
How to use remote proctoring tools in online alternative assessments:
Example alternative assessment activity: giving virtual presentations
- Video: scans the room for additional people and unauthorized resources, verifies identity, and records the presentation.
- Voice detection: detects when the person speaks and provides a transcript of what they say.
- Accommodations: if a person has a speech impairment, for example, proctor instructions can offer alternative ways to complete the presentation, like using text-to-speech assistive technology.
Example alternative assessment activity: completing a balance sheet in Excel
- BrowserGuard: allows the use of Excel but restricts other software, records screens, and prevents keyboard shortcuts.
- Video: verifies ID and ensures prohibited resources, like notes, aren’t in the test room.
- Accommodations: if the person has a physical condition that impairs the ability to type or use a mouse, proctor instructions can allow them to use an assistive keyboard and mouse.
10. The proctoring platform directly integrates with your LMS
A proctoring platform that directly integrates with your learning management system can speed up implementation, improve ease of use, secure data, and it usually means that no extra passwords or logins are required.
“You want an integrated system. You don’t want faculty and students to have separate sign-ons. That was important for us.” – Steven Daniello, Director of Assessment Services, Indian River State College
Read about Steven’s experience with proctoring
11. Uses voice detection instead of sound detection
The terms “voice detection” and “sound detection” are interchangeably used, but they’re significantly different.
- Sound detection may flag unimportant noises like coughing or a doorbell ringing.
- Voice detection listens for particular keywords and phrases, like “Hey Siri” or “OK Google.”
Which do you think is more likely to create a false flag?
While voice detection is a powerful tool, the best remote proctoring service takes it a step further by creating a transcript of what’s said by the test-taker.
12. Reports and recordings give actionable insights and help streamline the review process
The online proctoring solution should provide exam reports with timestamped recordings within the LMS to help speed up review and give admins better test performance insights.
“I felt that I couldn’t trust my test scores… The analytics that come with the flags and real-time recording helped me to understand how students were approaching the course and what strategies they were using to pass the test. Honorlock helped me make sense of what was going on.” – Ryan P. Mears, PhD, Lecturer, University of Florida
Read about Ryan’s experience with proctoring
13. Online proctoring companies should take a security-first approach
From security software and technologies to ongoing training and employee onboarding, thoroughly vet the security practices of online proctoring companies because their security becomes your security.
Ask these questions about security of the online proctoring platform and company:
Security testing and employee training
- Does the company perform regular security testing of the proctoring platform?
- Is ongoing employee security training required?
- If so, how often is it conducted and what does the training entail?
- Does the proctoring company have an incident response plan?
- If so, how often do they practice the plan?
- Do they have a Disaster Recovery Plan and Business Continuity Plan?
Data security and privacy
- What type of data is collected and why is it collected?
- How is data collected and maintained?
- Who owns the data?
- Is data encrypted in transit and at rest?
What’s the best proctoring software and service?
Honorlock is the highest-rated online proctoring software on the peer-to-peer review site, G2. Honorlock earned this score thanks to its ease of use, quality of support, and simple setup.
What is Honorlock?
Honorlock is an online proctoring company that combines advanced software and services to protect the integrity of online exams for higher education and professional education.
How does Honorlock work?
Honorlock’s online exam proctoring software monitors behavior and alerts a live human proctor if it detects potential issues.
Once alerted, the proctor can review the situation in an analysis window before deciding whether to intervene or not.
This is the best way to proctor online exams because it protects academic integrity and creates a fair, equitable, and non-invasive test environment. While other online proctoring services just try to catch cheating on exams, Honorlock supports and empowers test-takers and administrators.